The 51-year-old man is now sitting in police custody in Cologne almost eight years after the first of his crimes, prosecutors announced on Monday.
On January 26th 2008, the man attacked an 18-year-old from behind while she was out jogging in the late afternoon in Storkstadt, northern Bavaria. The man dragged the woman into a bush where he raped her, before escaping on a bicycle.
The woman was taken to hospital and police embarked upon an intensive search which included using a helicopter. But the criminal managed to get away undetected.
A large scale manhunt ensued, with Bavarian police offering €2,000 for information that led to his arrest. But despite several leads from the general public, investigations came to nothing.
Slightly over two weeks later, the rapist claimed a second victim, this time on the outskirts of Nuremberg. His victim on this occasion was a 42-year-old who was out walking.
Similarities in the description of the person and how the rape had been carried out, suggested to investigators that the same culprit was behind both crimes.
Subsequent studies of DNA traces from the two crimes scenes confirmed this suspicion.
Police raised the reward to €3,000 – but still investigations led nowhere.
On February 10th 2008 the man struck for a third time. This time he attacked a 42-year-old jogger in the neighbouring state of Hesse, but the woman was successfully able to fight him off.
While no decisive breakthrough was made in the early months of 2008, police never closed the case, with DNA comparisons regularly being made with other crime scenes.
The decisive breakthrough came in October, when police in Rhineland-Palatinate compared DNA traces from a break-in in the western state to those in the national data bank and were surprised to find a match with the rape cases of 2008.
Investigators then traced the man to an address in Cologne where he gave himself up without resistance.